JAN 03, 2014 12:00 AM PST

Song of Ice and Fire: Active Volcano Found Beneath Antarctic Snow

WRITTEN BY: Jen Ellis
Far below the wind-swept icy sheets of the Antarctic waste, a monster lurks, biding its time. It waits, a thing seemingly dead, for the right moment. And then, without warning, it awakes and roars to violent life. All are in peril within its reach: this thing so exotic that it could almost be called alien.

Not to worry: it is not some Lovecraftian horror or a creature from a John Carpenter film. Rather something far more mundane: an active volcano. Albeit one beneath a half-mile of ice, 60 miles off the coast of West Antarctica.

The newly-discovered volcano is exciting geologists, who are hailing the find as among the first of what promises to be a thrilling new era in Antarctic exploration. Indeed, it is suspected that other active magma systems may still lurk waiting to be located.

In a study published in the journal Natural Geoscience, researchers working on POLENET - a project intended to study the construction of the Earth's mantle underlying the crust - discovered the volcano while monitoring for earthquake activity. Washington State University in St. Louis scientists trekked two weeks into the driest and most frigid desert on Earth to set up seismic monitoring equipment. In addition to the surface seismic stations, airborne radar imaging was also used to examine the topology. In 2010 and 2011 POLENET hit the jackpot: swarms of earthquakes located in Marie Byrd Land on the western half of Antarctica, around the Executive Committee Range.

Examining the seismic data, the researchers received a surprise: a 3,200 foot-tall bulge that had risen below the surface, and in the recent past. Furthermore, the data indicates that the bulge is growing, a sign that magma consistently flows into the volcano. However, that is still a far cry from an actual eruption.

"We can say with pretty high confidence," Amanda Lough, a student at Washington State University and the lead author of the study, said, "that there wasn't an eruption while we were out there." Speaking to LiveScience's OurAmazingPlanet she noted that, "From the bed topography, we can see there is something building up beneath the ice."

Volcanic activity is not a new phenomenon to Antarctica. Indeed, one of Earth's most active volcanoes - Mount Erebus - is found along the coast of the continent. But the POLENET project marks the first time such geologic events have been located deep inland of Antarctica.

If the just-discovered volcano were to erupt, geologists are still unsure what the effects would be. The ice directly above the vent would be vaporized into terrifically hot steam... but what of the rest of the half-mile of ice above? It is doubtful that all of the ice would be evaporated. However, it is possible that the millions of gallons of melted water could wash toward the MacAyeal Ice Stream and send the glacier dramatically hurtling toward open sea. Such possibilities are making geologists positively giddy with wonder.

"I think there's no question that there are more volcanic surprises beneath the ice," said Richard Aster, seismologist at Colorado State University and co-author of the study. "This is really the golden age of discovery of the Antarctic continent."
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COVID-19 Lockdown Leads to Decreases in Outdoor Air Pollution, but Increases in Indoor Air Pollution | Earth And The Environment
JUN 04, 2020 3:34 PM PDT

COVID-19 Lockdown Leads to Decreases in Outdoor Air Pollution, but Increases in Indoor Air Pollution

WRITTEN BY: Tiffany Dazet

With most of North America sheltering in place to prevent the further spread of COVID-19, it’s not surprising that there have been some improvements in outdoor air quality. According to an article from NASA Climate Change, there have been significant reductions in outdoor air pollution over several major metropolitan areas of the United States.

In early April, NASA reported a 30% drop in air pollution over the Northeast United States. In mid-May, NASA reported a 31% decrease in nitrogen dioxide over the Los Angeles basin in California. As restrictions continue to lift and life returns to normal, more reports of change in pollution levels are expected to emerge.

NASA reports that nitrogen dioxide, primarily emitted from burning fossil fuels, is a reliable indicator of changes in human activity. According to NASA, nitrogen dioxide is emitted from tailpipes while driving and smokestacks from electricity generation. NASA also reports that Sulfur dioxide is another pollutant that can indicate changes in anthropogenic activities, such as electricity generation, oil and gas extraction, and metal smelting.

However, Scientific American reports that because people are spending more time at home, they may be exposed to increased levels of air pollutants indoors. According to Scientific American, increasing cooking at home and the frequency of cleaning product-use can contaminate indoor air. The article reports that a study from earlier this year revealed that certain cooking methods, such as roasting vegetables in a gas oven, may generate an “extraordinarily high level” of fine particulate matter indoors. Additionally, gas stoves emit more particulate matter than electric, although electric stoves do produce particles as well.

Besides particulate matter and potentially toxic gases released by stoves, cleaning products are additional household hazards to consider during lockdown. Scientific American states that cleaning with bleach is a significant concern. By mixing bleach and water, hypochlorous acid is produced and can react with dirt and debris. Additionally, hypochlorous acid can react with other airborne particles and create toxins.

The article from Scientific American conveys that the health consequences of increased indoor pollution during lockdown are not well understood. However, the article also states that recent studies suggest that there is “no safe level of fine particulate matter and that even short-term exposures can reduce lung function and raise the risk of a heart attack.”

Sources: NASA Visualization Studio, NASA, Scientific American

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  • Tiffany grew up in Southern California, where she attended San Diego State University. She graduated with a degree in Biology with a marine emphasis, thanks to her love of the ocean and wildlife. With 13 years of science writing under her belt, she now works as a freelance writer in the Pacific Northwest.
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COVID-19 Lockdown Leads to Decreases in Outdoor Air Pollution, but Increases in Indoor Air Pollution | Earth And The Environment
JUN 04, 2020 3:34 PM PDT

COVID-19 Lockdown Leads to Decreases in Outdoor Air Pollution, but Increases in Indoor Air Pollution

WRITTEN BY: Tiffany Dazet

With most of North America sheltering in place to prevent the further spread of COVID-19, it’s not surprising that there have been some improvements in outdoor air quality. According to an article from NASA Climate Change, there have been significant reductions in outdoor air pollution over several major metropolitan areas of the United States.

In early April, NASA reported a 30% drop in air pollution over the Northeast United States. In mid-May, NASA reported a 31% decrease in nitrogen dioxide over the Los Angeles basin in California. As restrictions continue to lift and life returns to normal, more reports of change in pollution levels are expected to emerge.

NASA reports that nitrogen dioxide, primarily emitted from burning fossil fuels, is a reliable indicator of changes in human activity. According to NASA, nitrogen dioxide is emitted from tailpipes while driving and smokestacks from electricity generation. NASA also reports that Sulfur dioxide is another pollutant that can indicate changes in anthropogenic activities, such as electricity generation, oil and gas extraction, and metal smelting.

However, Scientific American reports that because people are spending more time at home, they may be exposed to increased levels of air pollutants indoors. According to Scientific American, increasing cooking at home and the frequency of cleaning product-use can contaminate indoor air. The article reports that a study from earlier this year revealed that certain cooking methods, such as roasting vegetables in a gas oven, may generate an “extraordinarily high level” of fine particulate matter indoors. Additionally, gas stoves emit more particulate matter than electric, although electric stoves do produce particles as well.

Besides particulate matter and potentially toxic gases released by stoves, cleaning products are additional household hazards to consider during lockdown. Scientific American states that cleaning with bleach is a significant concern. By mixing bleach and water, hypochlorous acid is produced and can react with dirt and debris. Additionally, hypochlorous acid can react with other airborne particles and create toxins.

The article from Scientific American conveys that the health consequences of increased indoor pollution during lockdown are not well understood. However, the article also states that recent studies suggest that there is “no safe level of fine particulate matter and that even short-term exposures can reduce lung function and raise the risk of a heart attack.”

Sources: NASA Visualization Studio, NASA, Scientific American

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  • Tiffany grew up in Southern California, where she attended San Diego State University. She graduated with a degree in Biology with a marine emphasis, thanks to her love of the ocean and wildlife. With 13 years of science writing under her belt, she now works as a freelance writer in the Pacific Northwest.
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COVID-19 Lockdown Leads to Decreases in Outdoor Air Pollution, but Increases in Indoor Air Pollution | Earth And The Environment
JUN 04, 2020 3:34 PM PDT

COVID-19 Lockdown Leads to Decreases in Outdoor Air Pollution, but Increases in Indoor Air Pollution

WRITTEN BY: Tiffany Dazet

With most of North America sheltering in place to prevent the further spread of COVID-19, it’s not surprising that there have been some improvements in outdoor air quality. According to an article from NASA Climate Change, there have been significant reductions in outdoor air pollution over several major metropolitan areas of the United States.

In early April, NASA reported a 30% drop in air pollution over the Northeast United States. In mid-May, NASA reported a 31% decrease in nitrogen dioxide over the Los Angeles basin in California. As restrictions continue to lift and life returns to normal, more reports of change in pollution levels are expected to emerge.

NASA reports that nitrogen dioxide, primarily emitted from burning fossil fuels, is a reliable indicator of changes in human activity. According to NASA, nitrogen dioxide is emitted from tailpipes while driving and smokestacks from electricity generation. NASA also reports that Sulfur dioxide is another pollutant that can indicate changes in anthropogenic activities, such as electricity generation, oil and gas extraction, and metal smelting.

However, Scientific American reports that because people are spending more time at home, they may be exposed to increased levels of air pollutants indoors. According to Scientific American, increasing cooking at home and the frequency of cleaning product-use can contaminate indoor air. The article reports that a study from earlier this year revealed that certain cooking methods, such as roasting vegetables in a gas oven, may generate an “extraordinarily high level” of fine particulate matter indoors. Additionally, gas stoves emit more particulate matter than electric, although electric stoves do produce particles as well.

Besides particulate matter and potentially toxic gases released by stoves, cleaning products are additional household hazards to consider during lockdown. Scientific American states that cleaning with bleach is a significant concern. By mixing bleach and water, hypochlorous acid is produced and can react with dirt and debris. Additionally, hypochlorous acid can react with other airborne particles and create toxins.

The article from Scientific American conveys that the health consequences of increased indoor pollution during lockdown are not well understood. However, the article also states that recent studies suggest that there is “no safe level of fine particulate matter and that even short-term exposures can reduce lung function and raise the risk of a heart attack.”

Sources: NASA Visualization Studio, NASA, Scientific American

About the Author
  • Tiffany grew up in Southern California, where she attended San Diego State University. She graduated with a degree in Biology with a marine emphasis, thanks to her love of the ocean and wildlife. With 13 years of science writing under her belt, she now works as a freelance writer in the Pacific Northwest.
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COVID-19 Lockdown Leads to Decreases in Outdoor Air Pollution, but Increases in Indoor Air Pollution | Earth And The Environment
JUN 04, 2020 3:34 PM PDT

COVID-19 Lockdown Leads to Decreases in Outdoor Air Pollution, but Increases in Indoor Air Pollution

WRITTEN BY: Tiffany Dazet

With most of North America sheltering in place to prevent the further spread of COVID-19, it’s not surprising that there have been some improvements in outdoor air quality. According to an article from NASA Climate Change, there have been significant reductions in outdoor air pollution over several major metropolitan areas of the United States.

In early April, NASA reported a 30% drop in air pollution over the Northeast United States. In mid-May, NASA reported a 31% decrease in nitrogen dioxide over the Los Angeles basin in California. As restrictions continue to lift and life returns to normal, more reports of change in pollution levels are expected to emerge.

NASA reports that nitrogen dioxide, primarily emitted from burning fossil fuels, is a reliable indicator of changes in human activity. According to NASA, nitrogen dioxide is emitted from tailpipes while driving and smokestacks from electricity generation. NASA also reports that Sulfur dioxide is another pollutant that can indicate changes in anthropogenic activities, such as electricity generation, oil and gas extraction, and metal smelting.

However, Scientific American reports that because people are spending more time at home, they may be exposed to increased levels of air pollutants indoors. According to Scientific American, increasing cooking at home and the frequency of cleaning product-use can contaminate indoor air. The article reports that a study from earlier this year revealed that certain cooking methods, such as roasting vegetables in a gas oven, may generate an “extraordinarily high level” of fine particulate matter indoors. Additionally, gas stoves emit more particulate matter than electric, although electric stoves do produce particles as well.

Besides particulate matter and potentially toxic gases released by stoves, cleaning products are additional household hazards to consider during lockdown. Scientific American states that cleaning with bleach is a significant concern. By mixing bleach and water, hypochlorous acid is produced and can react with dirt and debris. Additionally, hypochlorous acid can react with other airborne particles and create toxins.

The article from Scientific American conveys that the health consequences of increased indoor pollution during lockdown are not well understood. However, the article also states that recent studies suggest that there is “no safe level of fine particulate matter and that even short-term exposures can reduce lung function and raise the risk of a heart attack.”

Sources: NASA Visualization Studio, NASA, Scientific American

About the Author
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JUN 04, 2020 3:34 PM PDT

COVID-19 Lockdown Leads to Decreases in Outdoor Air Pollution, but Increases in Indoor Air Pollution

WRITTEN BY: Tiffany Dazet

With most of North America sheltering in place to prevent the further spread of COVID-19, it’s not surprising that there have been some improvements in outdoor air quality. According to an article from NASA Climate Change, there have been significant reductions in outdoor air pollution over several major metropolitan areas of the United States.

In early April, NASA reported a 30% drop in air pollution over the Northeast United States. In mid-May, NASA reported a 31% decrease in nitrogen dioxide over the Los Angeles basin in California. As restrictions continue to lift and life returns to normal, more reports of change in pollution levels are expected to emerge.

NASA reports that nitrogen dioxide, primarily emitted from burning fossil fuels, is a reliable indicator of changes in human activity. According to NASA, nitrogen dioxide is emitted from tailpipes while driving and smokestacks from electricity generation. NASA also reports that Sulfur dioxide is another pollutant that can indicate changes in anthropogenic activities, such as electricity generation, oil and gas extraction, and metal smelting.

However, Scientific American reports that because people are spending more time at home, they may be exposed to increased levels of air pollutants indoors. According to Scientific American, increasing cooking at home and the frequency of cleaning product-use can contaminate indoor air. The article reports that a study from earlier this year revealed that certain cooking methods, such as roasting vegetables in a gas oven, may generate an “extraordinarily high level” of fine particulate matter indoors. Additionally, gas stoves emit more particulate matter than electric, although electric stoves do produce particles as well.

Besides particulate matter and potentially toxic gases released by stoves, cleaning products are additional household hazards to consider during lockdown. Scientific American states that cleaning with bleach is a significant concern. By mixing bleach and water, hypochlorous acid is produced and can react with dirt and debris. Additionally, hypochlorous acid can react with other airborne particles and create toxins.

The article from Scientific American conveys that the health consequences of increased indoor pollution during lockdown are not well understood. However, the article also states that recent studies suggest that there is “no safe level of fine particulate matter and that even short-term exposures can reduce lung function and raise the risk of a heart attack.”

Sources: NASA Visualization Studio, NASA, Scientific American

About the Author
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COVID-19 Lockdown Leads to Decreases in Outdoor Air Pollution, but Increases in Indoor Air Pollution

WRITTEN BY: Tiffany Dazet

With most of North America sheltering in place to prevent the further spread of COVID-19, it’s not surprising that there have been some improvements in outdoor air quality. According to an article from NASA Climate Change, there have been significant reductions in outdoor air pollution over several major metropolitan areas of the United States.

In early April, NASA reported a 30% drop in air pollution over the Northeast United States. In mid-May, NASA reported a 31% decrease in nitrogen dioxide over the Los Angeles basin in California. As restrictions continue to lift and life returns to normal, more reports of change in pollution levels are expected to emerge.

NASA reports that nitrogen dioxide, primarily emitted from burning fossil fuels, is a reliable indicator of changes in human activity. According to NASA, nitrogen dioxide is emitted from tailpipes while driving and smokestacks from electricity generation. NASA also reports that Sulfur dioxide is another pollutant that can indicate changes in anthropogenic activities, such as electricity generation, oil and gas extraction, and metal smelting.

However, Scientific American reports that because people are spending more time at home, they may be exposed to increased levels of air pollutants indoors. According to Scientific American, increasing cooking at home and the frequency of cleaning product-use can contaminate indoor air. The article reports that a study from earlier this year revealed that certain cooking methods, such as roasting vegetables in a gas oven, may generate an “extraordinarily high level” of fine particulate matter indoors. Additionally, gas stoves emit more particulate matter than electric, although electric stoves do produce particles as well.

Besides particulate matter and potentially toxic gases released by stoves, cleaning products are additional household hazards to consider during lockdown. Scientific American states that cleaning with bleach is a significant concern. By mixing bleach and water, hypochlorous acid is produced and can react with dirt and debris. Additionally, hypochlorous acid can react with other airborne particles and create toxins.

The article from Scientific American conveys that the health consequences of increased indoor pollution during lockdown are not well understood. However, the article also states that recent studies suggest that there is “no safe level of fine particulate matter and that even short-term exposures can reduce lung function and raise the risk of a heart attack.”

Sources: NASA Visualization Studio, NASA, Scientific American

About the Author
  • Tiffany grew up in Southern California, where she attended San Diego State University. She graduated with a degree in Biology with a marine emphasis, thanks to her love of the ocean and wildlife. With 13 years of science writing under her belt, she now works as a freelance writer in the Pacific Northwest.
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COVID-19 Lockdown Leads to Decreases in Outdoor Air Pollution, but Increases in Indoor Air Pollution | Earth And The Environment